How To Polish Petrified Wood
A lot of collectors choose to polish their petrified wood to give it a cleaner, smoother appearance. Not only does this make it look more attractive, but it generally makes it worth more money as well. Given the fact that polishing is an expensive and fairly easy process, it's well worth the minimal investment in most circumstances. Whether you plan on selling your petrified wood or just keeping it, you should learn the proper steps to polishing it.
The main reason why you should polish your petrified wood is to make it cleaner and more vibrant. Depending on the type of rocks the wood is made of, petrified wood can feature a wide variety of vibrant colors. Unfortunately, however, the rough surface oftentimes masks the natural beauty and colors in petrified wood. Thankfully, polishing it can help reveal and intensify the colors found in petrified wood.
If your collection consists only of small petrified wood pieces, you should use a rock tumbler to clean and polish them. It's cheap, easy and much easier than using some of the other cleaning processes. Just pick up a general rock tumbler, add in your petrified wood pieces with some grit, and let it run for 3-4 days. Once the tumbler is done running, take your petrified wood pieces out and run them underneath the water faucet for a minute to remove and grit or rock debris. Remember, though, running your petrified wood in a rock tumbler for too long can literally make it smaller, so keep your tumbling sessions to no longer than 4 days.
So, just how much money does a rock tumbler cost? On average, you can expect to pay around $50-$100 for a basic tumbler. Of course you can use them for much more than just polishing petrified wood. If you have gemstones that you want to smooth down, just toss them into the tumbler with some grit and let it run for about a week. Once it comes out, it will be smooth enough to use in necklaces, bracelets, earrings or any other projects you have in mind.
Unfortunately, a lot of petrified wood pieces are too large to place in a small rock tumbler. If this is the case, you'll have to use an alternative method to clean them, such as rotary polisher. These large handheld devices allow you to buff out any and all imperfections on your petrified wood, no matter how big it is. Another advantage to using a rotary polisher over rock tumbler is that it instantly polishes your petrified wood.
The first thing that you'll need to do is pick up a rotary polisher. You can find them for sale at most home improvement stores and even some online retailers specializing in tools for around $200-$400. Some of the entry-level models should polish your petrified wood just fine, so don't assume you have to drop $400 on a device just to polish your petrified wood.
After you've picked up your rotary polisher, you'll need to familiarize yourself on how to use it. Take a few minutes to read through the instruction manual and learn what all features it comes with. Once you're ready to start polishing your petrified wood, take it and your rotary polisher to the garage or outdoor workshop where you aren't going to mess up anything. Sit down on a stool or in a chair, turn your polisher on and start running it across the surface of the petrified wood. While it's buffing the surface, keep it sprayed down with water to keep the grit pad working in optimal condition. Continue going back and forth over the surface until you've covered every square inch of the petrified wood.
Tips on Using a Rotary Polisher on Petrified Wood
One of the keys to successfully using a rotary polisher on petrified wood is start with a high-grit pad and slowly work your way down to finger grits. This is a rule that holds true in polishing nearly every surface or material, petrified wood included. The high-grit pad will allow you to quickly knock off stubborn rock pieces that otherwise wouldn't come off. Switching to a fine-grit pad, however, gives it a cleaner polish that really brings out the best in the colors of your petrified wood.
As you polish your petrified wood, you'll want to keep the rotary polisher constantly moving back and forth. Allowing it to sit on one location for too long can eat away away the material, essentially leaving a small indention or hole in it.